Joe works in a human service organization serving the physically disabled. When he first joined the organization 12 years ago, he signed a document agreeing that he would never abuse or neglect an individual. He was trained to understand that if he was assigned one-to-one supervision with an individual, it would be considered neglect if he ever left that person alone. Joe understood that if that occurred, he would be summarily fired. Staff members who violated this rule have in the past all been fired.
Joe is bathing a multiply-handicapped individual in that person’s apartment. The person is unable to sit upright for more than a few seconds. Joe was assigned one-to-one supervision of that person. Given that responsibility, Joe is not permitted to be further than arms-length distance from the person, nor ever to lose eye contact while the person is in the bathtub.
While bathing the individual, Joe hears screams from a staff member in the hallway outside of the bathroom. She is calling for help, screaming, “He’s going to kill my baby.” Evidently, she is being attacked by a large and violent individual who lives at the same location. The staff member being attacked is 7 months pregnant. There is no other person at the location at the time the incident is occurring.
Assume that Joe understands all of these facts correctly at the moment.
In one essay of between 750 and 1,000 words, respond to the following:
Based on the information in the case above and using the five steps of the problem-solving approach to ethical decision-making, analyze how you believe Joe should respond to the situation confronting him.